Truss placement on new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland finished, some boat traffic resumes

American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on four jumbo barges at the Paducah...
American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on four jumbo barges at the Paducah Riverport, then transported it upstream to the construction site where it was placed on four jacking piers.(Kentucky Transportation Cabinet/Facebook)
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 11:08 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2022 at 3:57 PM CDT
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WESTERN Ky. (KFVS) - Crews have removed two of the four jacking towers at the U.S. 60 Cumberland Bridge at Smithland.

The flotilla that transported and placed a 700 ft. truss on the bridge at Smithland has moved away from the site.

This has allowed commercial towboat traffic and pleasure boat traffic to resume on the lower Cumberland River at navigation mile point 2.7

American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on four jumbo barges at the Paducah...
American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on four jumbo barges at the Paducah Riverport, then transported it upstream to the construction site where it was placed on four jacking piers.(Kentucky Transportation Cabinet/Facebook)

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the 700-foot truss was placed on the main piers on top of the bridge on Wednesday. After that, an American Bridge Company crew removed the top of one of the four towers that lifted it into place.

Around 3:30 p.m., the second jacking tower was removed.

According to KYTC, the existing Smithland Bridge will continue to be down to one lane with alternating flow controlled by an automated signal. Some delays are likely during peak travel periods.

Jim Smith Contracting, the prime contractor on the $63.8 million project, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, American Bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard and numerous agencies from a five-county area worked together to move the truss.

According to KYTC, hundreds of high school students and area residents watched the truss be hoisted 90 feet in the air, moved over the waiting concrete piers and lowered into place.

They said the truss will have to sit atop the piers for about a month before the contractor can start placing a concrete deck on the structure. That work is expected to take about six months, which would allow traffic to be moved to the new bridge in late spring 2023.

American Bridge assembled the 700-foot blue steel structure on four jumbo barges at the Paducah Riverport, then transported it upstream to the construction site.

KYTC provided this project schedule:

October-November 2022

  • Prep and start deck concrete pour on main span

April-May 2023

  • U.S. 60 highway connections final tie-in
  • Traffic moved to new bridge
  • Demolition of old bridge

June-August 2023

  • Final roadway driving surface and finish work
  • Target completion date for all work is Dec. 1, 2023

According to KYTC, the new bridge will have a 40-foot-wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders that will allow clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic.

They said the new bridge will not have piers in the water during normal river conditions, helping with river navigation.